• Type: Business and industry issue
  • Date: 5/19/2012

Female CFOs in Singapore 

Although female graduates outnumber male graduates in business-related disciplines in many countries, women remain under-represented in senior management positions, including in the finance function.

In Singapore, however, women seem to be holding increasingly important senior finance roles. This is in contrast to other developed countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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A 2010 report published by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) in Australia revealed that the percentage of executive managers who are women was eight percent in Australia, 12.2 percent in the United Kingdom (UK), 13.5 percent in the United States (US), 16.9 percent in Canada, and 19.3 percent in South Africa. For listed companies in these countries, the percentage of women was even lower, except in South Africa.

A February 2011 study published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the UK found that there were only six female CFOs amongst the FTSE100 companies. also reported that only nine percent of the CFOs in Fortune 500 companies in the US were women as at 1 June 2011.

Data obtained by KPMG for February 2012 showed that the same trend was occurring in Hong Kong and Australia. Women make up 17 percent of CFOs in Hong Kong-listed companies, and just 11 percent of CFOs in Australianlisted companies.

Growing importance of women in senior finance roles in Singapore

In Singapore, the story is somewhat different. The latest KPMG data shows that 28 percent of CFOs of companies listed on the Singapore Exchange are women. For Singapore-listed companies without CFOs, women make up an even higher percentage — 44 per cent — of those holding the most senior finance positions (such as financial controller). Therefore, compared to some of the more developed markets, women are better represented in senior finance positions in Singapore-listed companies.